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searching successfully to reveal your ancestor’s story on ancestry

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Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor's Story on Ancestry.com. Presented by Anne Gillespie Mitchell at NGS 2014 in Richmond.

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searching successfully to reveal your ancestor’s story on ancestry

  1. 1. 1 Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story on Ancestry.com Anne Gillespie Mitchell NGS 2014
  2. 2. What is our end goal? •Not a pile of papers •Not a nice organized notebook of records, images and family group sheets •We want to tell our family story 2
  3. 3. How do I tell my family story Method 1: – Do a lot of research – Sit down in front of Word – Wait for divine inspiration 3
  4. 4. The Story 4
  5. 5. The Story 5
  6. 6. How do I tell my family story Method 2: 1. Learn multiple ways to search 2. Build the foundation 3. Analyze what you find; write up random thoughts and ideas as you go 4. Ask yourself what should I do next? 6
  7. 7. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 7 Global searches = 31,000+ titles, 13 billion+ records
  8. 8. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 8 1) What makes your ancestor unique? – Name – Places – Events – People 2) What unique aspects will be included in records?
  9. 9. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 9 What you put in your search form will be matched in your search results. Unless you “tune” your search, just one field needs to match the record to be in your results.
  10. 10. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 10 Name, location, estimated year of birth
  11. 11. Advanced Search Options Always start on the search tab http://search.ancestry.com/search
  12. 12. Search Tip #2: First and Last name filters 12
  13. 13. Search Tip #3: Wildcards Try wildcards with exact on names to find unusual spellings of names. Sm?th* matches Smith, Smyth, and Smythe. You must have at least 3 characters to use a wildcard. 13
  14. 14. Search Tip #3: Wildcards • * matches zero or more characters – Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna, Annabelle, etc.
  15. 15. Search Tip #3: Wildcards • * matches zero or more characters – Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna, Annabelle, etc. • ? matches one character – Ann? matches Anne, Anna
  16. 16. Types of Locations Lived in matches a residence event, such as a census location Any event matches any location in the record Search Tip #4: Location Filters
  17. 17. Search Tip #4: Location Filters 17 Start searching at the “smallest location” you know, such as a county. Expand your search as needed. Then select adjacent counties and work your way out geographically to expand your search.
  18. 18. Search Tip #4: Location Filters 18
  19. 19. Location filters 19
  20. 20. Sliders
  21. 21. Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering • Entering only a birth year – Assume the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102.
  22. 22. Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering • Entering only a birth year – Assume the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102. • Entering only a death date – Assumes the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = death year – 105 to death year +2.
  23. 23. Search Tip #6: Limit your scope 23 At the bottom of the advanced search, you can see the types of records you will see
  24. 24. Search Tip #7: Collection Priority
  25. 25. Search Tip #8: Use facets 25
  26. 26. Search Tip #9: Do a Category Search 26
  27. 27. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection 27 What’s there is what is indexed Lived In in Census Records will get you that specific county Exact means exact
  28. 28. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection What’s in the description? • Source information From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
  29. 29. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection What’s in the description? • Source information • Data coverage From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
  30. 30. Search Tip #11: Search From Trees 30
  31. 31. Search Tip #12: Photos and Stories 31
  32. 32. What Question are You Asking and Why You Need to Ask It
  33. 33. Global Search is great. Hints are great. It’s a quick way to get started finding information about your ancestors. But you need to know what you want to know before the information is useful.
  34. 34. Ask yourself, what do I want to know? When and where was James Smith born? What was Jane Jones’ maiden name?
  35. 35. Now that you have the question, you can identify where you might find the answer. Let’s say James Smith was likely born in the 1800’s in South Carolina. South Carolina didn’t have birth records then.
  36. 36. There are still lots of records that will have the information: • Census • Obituaries • Marriage records • Family bibles • Military records • Passenger lists • Naturalization records • And on, and on….
  37. 37. Location, Location, Location
  38. 38. Records are usually created at the location the event happened. Understanding where it might have happened is key to your search.
  39. 39. Timelines!
  40. 40. A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
  41. 41. A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
  42. 42. With Just a Click, the Record is Part of a Tree Now you could just save it to your tree. But what might you be missing?
  43. 43. What Treasures are Hiding in Your Tree?
  44. 44. Methodology • Find the Census • Document what you see – EVERYTHING! • Update your Person Timeline • Ask yourself, what do I need to research AND write it down
  45. 45. Ask Questions
  46. 46. What did we learn from the 1900 census? • Aug 1832 – Adam Snavely was born in Virginia • Oct 1841 – Mollie E was born in Virginia • 1866 – Adam, age 34, and Mollie E, age 25, were married, most likely in Virginia • Aug 1871 – Mollie V Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and most likely Mollie E • Oct 1878 – Gordon A Snavely was born, son of Adam and most likely Mollie E • Apr 1882 – Effie C Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and most likely Mollie E
  47. 47. What did we learn from the 1900 census? • 1900 – Adam, Mollie E, Mollie V, Gordon A, and Effie C were all living in Atkins, Smyth, Virginia. • Mollie E had 6 children all of whom are reported as living. • Only 3 are currently living with her. • Everyone is reported as living in Virginia and having parents born there.
  48. 48. What did we learn from the 1900 census? Why are all there so many women on this page working as cooks?
  49. 49. Time to update the timeline First, update the census information
  50. 50. Time to update the timeline Add in the vital information you have found
  51. 51. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors?
  52. 52. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors? Calhoun’s, Snavely’s and Feazell’s
  53. 53. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors? Calhoun’s, Snavely’s and Feazell’s Notice that Cora Ann Snavely and Idella Feazell are both listed as cooks Also everyone nearby owned their own farm
  54. 54. Time to update the timeline Add in interesting neighbors and other information you might find
  55. 55. Create a list of research questions
  56. 56. Add in 1880 and 1870
  57. 57. The 1860 Census Is this the right Adam? Probable. We believe Adam and Mollie E were married in 1866. So he would be living with his parents in 1860. Birth year is 1832 and the county, Smyth, is correct. Adam’s presumed father’s name is Nicholas; he has a son named Nicholas.
  58. 58. The 1860 Census Is this the right Adam? Possibly. The age is off by a 8 years. And the location is Wythe not Smyth
  59. 59. The 1860 Census
  60. 60. The 1860 Census • There is something strange about the age of Mary J and the distance between Alexander and Mary J • It is also interesting that both Nicholas and Adam own property and have a personal estate
  61. 61. The 1860 Census • 1811 – Nicholas Snavely born in Virginia • 1815 – Molly Snavely (maiden name unknown) born in Virginia • 1832 – Adam B Snavely born in Virginia • 1840 – William H Snavely born in Virginia • 1843 – Ferdinand S Snavely born in Virginia • 1845 – Susan E Snavely born in Virginia • 1847 – Alexander S Snavely born in Virginia • 1859 – Mary J Snavely born in Virginia • 1814 – Elizabeth Gross born in Virginia
  62. 62. The 1860 Census Surnames on the page: • Hutton, Camary, Goodpasture, Johnson, Hoofnagle. Everyone on the page owns land; working as Farmers, Carpenters, next door to Nicholas is John T Johnson, Sherriff
  63. 63. Who was young Mary Jane? Adam Boyd Snavely Nicholas Snavely Adam Snavely John Snavely Barbara Snavely Philip Aker Mary Jane Aker Mary Jane Emma Snavely
  64. 64. Update the timeline
  65. 65. Vital Records: Birth, Marriage and Death
  66. 66. Before you look for a Vital Record, determine if it exists
  67. 67. The Source and Red Book are both available for free
  68. 68. Select Virginia Vital Records
  69. 69. Select Virginia County Resources
  70. 70. Summary of what was recorded and when
  71. 71. There are also Resources and History on the Place Pages
  72. 72. Looking for Possible Locations for Virginia Death Records in the 1850’s?
  73. 73. How about Augusta, Virginia?
  74. 74. New guide ever week!
  75. 75. Immigration: Where did they come from?
  76. 76. Try http://www.ancestry.com/immigration
  77. 77. How about the Ancestry.com Wiki? http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Overview_of_Immigration_Research
  78. 78. Immigration Records for a Specific State or Country? Place Pages
  79. 79. Immigration Records for a Specific State or Country? Place Pages
  80. 80. Two Last Thoughts Don’t always go left in your tree
  81. 81. Two Last Thoughts Share!
  82. 82. References and Useful Links    Where you can find me     

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